The Bishops Strike Early
The Council’s Fall 2018 session pretty much shot down most of the Calvinists’ (most would say “traditionalists” but I like my terms of Arminian and Calvinist better since both have long traditions in the UMC) petitions in JCD 1366. There are very gifted church law people in the Calvinists’ group and they went to work to try to work around what the Council pointed out were unconstitutional in their plan. The Council of Bishops (hereinafter the Bishops) met just before GC2019 and requested declaratory decisions related to some of the Calvinists’ revised petitions. This request dealt with two elements of that plan, streamlining the process for dealing with allegations related to homosexuals and setting up an international tribunal for homosexuality allegations against bishops under the Council of Bishops.
The Calvinists saw a pattern in how allegations were handled over the last couple quadrennia. Those conferences and jurisdictions where the Arminians predominated, the allegations tended to be dropped somewhere between the supervisory response to a written complaint from a Calvinist and a trial.
So one petition to the GC2019 cut out practically everything from the complaint to the trial at the conference level and tried to establish a special committee on investigation on the General Conference level.. The Council jumped on that one, saying it removed the right of the annual conference to process the complaint, a violation of the constitution (Par. 33).
The other petition wanted to set up an international judicial committee of bishops under the Bishops in an attempt to get away from how Arminian jurisdictions could slow walk or drop homosexuality-related complaints.
The Council clobbered that petition because the constitution (Par. 50) gives accountability to the jurisdictions where the bishops are elected.
That ruling was shared with GC2019. The related petitions were dropped.
Was the Council supporting the Arminians? I do not think so. The constitution is clear on both counts. This was a by-the-book decision.